Ngoma:Teen pregnancy soars

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By Daniel Sabiiti

Teenage pregnancy rates rise.

Teenagers are failing to heed warnings about under-age sex, leading to soaring numbers of unplanned pregnancies in Ngoma district.

According to figures, over 700 teenage pregnancies were recorded in 2016 among girls below age 19. Providence Kirenga, Ngoma vice mayor in charge of social affairs says that these numbers are alarming and need immediate intervention by the community.

“This is a wakeup call for us to improve on the existing programmes especially HIV prevention and counseling at community levels and involvement of parents in sex education” Kirenga said.

She also called for a protection of child rights and promised that the ones who have with child will not be forced to marry before the legal age 21.

Some of the teen girls in Ngoma, just like elsewhere have blamed the increase in pregnancies among their colleagues on poverty, fear and stigma of using condoms and ignorance above all.

“We are not well informed about our sexuality and how to respond to the years we are in. this is for a fact. You cannot imagine some of us don’t even know what a condom is” said Uwitonze, a student GS Rukoma.

The research shows that pregnancy and childbirth are now a leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 in developing countries, with about 70,000 adolescents dying each year from pregnancy-related causes.

2015 statistics on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Schools report says that 522 unwanted pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 18 were recorded last year in schools countrywide. The report, released by the Gender Monitoring Office last year, shows most of the cases as being in Karongi (58), Kayonza (53), Gatsibo (52) and Gasabo (50).

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